AUTHENTIC ARGUMENT

Photo by John and Margaret

WEDNESDAY 20 MAY 2020

 

  I thought I would indulge in some flash fiction today.

The photograph is a picture I snapped in a theatre Margaret and I visited in Stratford-upon-Avon, five years ago. The bust that is central to this display is of course the immortal bard surrounded by colourful costumes. There is a small fountain tinkling away in the foreground giving some wonderful atmospheric sound effects.

Supposing, just supposing, the great playwright came back to life and applied to act the leading role in a production of one of his plays.

 

AUTHENTIC ARGUMENT

by John Yeo

A letter received by a would-be Hamlet.

THE AUTHENTIC SHAKESPEARE COMPANY

Stratford-Upon-Avon.

Dear Sir.

 We are pleased to inform you that your application to play Hamlet in our current production has been successful. In view of your extensive past experience of playing this role, and the excellent performance you treated us to at the interview. Please report to the director at the theatre next Wednesday morning, where you will meet the rest of the cast.

Yours faithfully,

Jonathon Milton

~~~~~~

Wednesday at the Authentic theatre

  ‘Hello Luvvies, wonderful to meet you all, I am here to replace your leading man, I hear he is not very well, I’m sorry to hear that. I’m William! I understand if we have a successful informal rehearsal first, then we can have a full dress rehearsal this afternoon.’

    ‘That’s right William, Grab a stool and start following the lines when we begin. You were very impressive during the interview, everyone was amazed at the way you read your lines from memory. Although there were a few anomalies and variations from the script. Nothing we can’t iron out though. After all, we don’t want to change the words of the immortal bard.’

    Later in the pub, the talk is all about the wonderful, trouble free rehearsal of the morning and the full dress rehearsal to follow, this afternoon.

    ‘William please  have another good home brewed stout! Sorry they don’t serve sack here, perhaps if we ask them to order some especially for you, then you can enjoy it while you are working here!’

     ‘Fine thanks! I won’t have another drink now. If I drink too much then I will be heady this afternoon.’ Replied William.

    Back at the theatre, William is shown to the star’s dressing room. ‘Here are your costumes made to an authentic Elizabethan design. Good job you are the same build as our previous leading man. The makeup artist will be along shortly.’

     ‘WHAT! I was under the impression this was an authentic production. You have even altered the original words out of all recognition. I know the author, William Shakespeare would never have applied modern day makeup. I am not a circus clown man!  I would like to see the Director.’  Shouted William irritability. ‘Get him at once!’

    ‘Yes Sir!’ said the stage hand.

   The Director arrived and was stunned to hear about this turn of events.

   William shouted at him, before he could open his mouth.  “If I’m expected to  mouth incomplete sentences and words that have been subtly altered, then to have this muck applied to my face, then I refuse to play the part. It’s bad enough that the original play has been altered forever over the centuries.’

  The Director scratched his head and firmly replied, ‘Are you mad? This play is a word-for-word adaptation from the Folger library, based on the First Folios. Now I suggest you get your coat and clear off back to where you came from!’

  William was taken aback by this attitude and as he was putting his coat on he shouted,  ‘I will refer this non-authenticity to the trades description department of the Lord Chancellor’s Office.’

Copyright © Written by John Yeo All rights reserved.

 

 

photo of black ceramic male profile statue under grey sky during daytime

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Copyright © Written by John Yeo All rights reserved.